Aberystwyth is positioned along the picturesque west coast of Wales and is the main holiday resort in the area. The town has two beaches, castle ruins, a pier and a harbour, as well as independent and high street shops.
With plenty of things to do in the town itself and in the surrounding countryside, Aberystwyth is the perfect holiday location for couples, families and groups of friends.
What is there to do in and around Aberystwyth?
Here are a few ideas of what you can do on your holiday:
- Both the North and South beaches have won the Resort Seaside award, with the North Beach even being recommended by the Good Beach Guide. After spending the day swimming and playing in the sand, grab an ice cream from the local ice cream parlour and go for a stroll along the promenade to the pier, where you can enjoy the amusement arcade.
- If you'd prefer to stay close to the water, why not take a boat trip to try and see a dolphin? The west coast of Wales has the largest population of bottle-nosed dolphins in Europe. With over 250 living off the coast, the chances of seeing one of these graceful mammals is very likely.
- The Aberystwyth Cliff Railway going up Constitution Hill is the longest cable-pulled railway in Britain. Get to the top and look out over the sea and all the surrounding luscious countryside. By using one of the world's largest camera obscura's at the summit, you can look out even further – over 1,000 square miles of the breath-taking scenery of the Rheidol Valley.
- Open for over a century, the Vale of Rheidol railway is popular among people wanting to view the beautiful countryside that the Rheidol Valley has to offer, and even more popular among train enthusiasts. For a narrow gauge steam locomotive, it climbs an impressive 700 feet in its journey between Aberystwyth and Devil's Bridge.
- Devil's Bridge is a world famous tourist attraction, with thousands and thousands visiting the bridge since the 18th Century. With two walking trails to choose from, you can take an up close and personal look at the fantastic sights of the waterfalls, the famous three bridges, and the Punch Bowl. Buy the guide book at the entrance to the nature trail which explains all about the local devil's legend.
History of Aberystwyth
There has been evidence discovered of human occupation in the Aberystwyth area dating back to the Mesolithic Age and although the tell-tale signs of habitation from this and the latter Bronze and Iron Ages may be harder to spot, physical ruins from the C12th onwards can be found at the historic Monastic site of Strata Florida Abbey. Impressive arched doorways stand tall and the lay-out of the central cloister is still mostly intact.
Right on the coast, overlooking the growing settlement, Aberystwyth Castle was built by Edward 1 in 1277 as part of his campaign to subjugate the Welsh kingdoms. Constructed on the site of a previous fortification built nearly 170 years previously the castle was in the innovative concentric circle design. With quite a turbulent history including being captured by Owain Glyndwr's forces in the early 1400s, the castle was eventually destroyed by Parliamentarian troops in 1649. Today, the grounds of the ruins offer fantastic views over the bay.
An industry important to the development of the town was sliver and lead mining. Inland from Aberystwyth, high in the Cambrian Mountains, is The Silver Mountain Experience – learn more about the history of mining in the area, pan for gems or take part in interactive challenges!
The town became a fashionable seaside destination with the coming of the railway in 1864 and with the establishing of the first collage of the University of Wales in 1872, the evolution began of the eclectic mix of cultures you can find there today.
The National Library of Wales was established in Aberystwyth in 1907. A committee had spent 34 years collecting as much important Welsh documents as they could source before the Royal Charter was granted. The Library now houses over 4 million printed volumes and the collection includes many rare manuscripts along with a large archive of maps and photographs. It is also a great resource if researching your Welsh family history!